Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Being a Grownup Isn't Scary. Hah!

For a moment, I was excited to see that the nearby Heartburn Pizza Cafe which had been shrouded in brown paper all summer appeared to be ready to re-open under a new name.  I had hoped for a nice little neighborhood bistro, preferably one which didn't serve kale chips and quinoa stew, but what the hell kind of tragically hip name for a restaurant is "Society of Grownups?" And who would want to eat there anyway?

Well, frowny-faces all around.  Society of Grown-Ups is not a bar and grill. It's a financial education center. It's a social network not-so-secret clubhouse. It's a place to find your "inner adult."  It's funded by local insurance company MassMutual and designed by uber-hip local firm Ideo.

Good idea, to provide financial education to recent college graduates and young adults, and probably a smart marketing initiative from a stodgy old insurance company who probably took a look at the demographic of their current clients and found they were all Trouserville cohorts, circling the drain with paid up life insurance policies grasped in their ancient claws. And who is going to start a storefront center for finding your inner geezer?  No future in that.

While the SOG website has many links to sensible financial tools and advice, the overall gestalt of the enterprise seems to be cloying cutesy-ness, which may go down well with the Instagram generation but seems downright patronizing to an old codger. A bit misleading, too, if their have your latte and drink it attitude is as pervasive as it seems to be in their tag lines and course descriptions (When Money Buys Happiness, No Cereal for Dinner, etc.).

Society of Grownups is a sort of masters program for adulthood. A place to learn how to deal with adult responsibility without losing your soul or sense of adventure along the way.

The subtext of the whole things seems to be: all those other old adults, like your parents and your teachers and the big, scary financial institutions with big, scary names, want to spoil your fun--but not us. We just want you to learn  how to spend money without giving up your daily latte, or find out what it means to cook like a grownup (hint: it probably involves kale and quinoa), or just have some fun with people just like you.  Actually, I suspect the graphics, the tone, the silliness are there to turn off potential gatecrashers of the elderly persuasion.  After all, you can't station a chipper young bouncer at the door to turn away those scary party-poopers over the age of 30.

Too bad.  I'm sure a lot of us would really love to attend their Halloween event (after all it has the old cheapsters favorite magic word in the description.)  Why, we wouldn't have to work too hard to be in costume what with all the hearing aids, walkers, moth-balled clothes and cranky faces we have at our disposal.

They haven't named the scary movie on offer but I'm betting it's a finance-themed flick.  Anyone for It's A Wonderful Life?  Or maybe the first Wall Street, because what could be scarier than Gordon Gekko's suspenders?

Here's your invitation.  Consider yourself warned about the sugar rush.  Just don't tell them I sent you.

Being a Grownup Isn't Scary
Join us on Halloween for free scary movie night! Food, drinks, candy.

Wear a costume - or not! But costumes are so fun, aren't they?

A general feeling of terror
A sugar rush

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